Hilda Conkling

Japanese Picture (1920)

Trees on a marble island,
Birds with little brown backs. . . .
Is this Paradise?
Mountain of my heart
With pink and purple coloring,
Little houses on the river-bank—
Houses made of maple-sugar,
Distant tree,
Boats with blue sails;
Japanese people in silk
Hidden in the brown-sugar houses;
Yellow sky, pearl-colored ground,
River-ripples like the ripples in silk
Or a windy corn-field;
Hills of pink opal
And dewy seas. . . .
Did you answer my question
About Paradise?


Hilda Conkling (b. 1910) began writing poems at the age of four, and at ten her widely-praised Poems by a Little Girl, introduced at length by Amy Lowell, appeared in New York and London (Stokes and Harrap, 1920). The work had been through nine American printings by 1930. Conkling’s other volumes, published when she was twelve and fourteen, respectively, were Shoes of the Wind (Stokes, Harrap, 1922) and Silverhorn: The Hilda Conkling Book for Other Children (Stokes, 1924). ‘Japanese Picture’ appeared in Poetry 16 (1920), p. 204. Conkling was nine.

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